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writing for godot

3 Key Reasons for Lack of Self-Confidence (And How to Fix Them)

Written by ashleykornee   
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 00:22


No one can change their personal history. We are all a combination of the experiences and events of our lives from childhood forward. We enter adulthood with a lot of baggage, and some of that baggage results in a lack of self-confidence, as we engage in work and form relationships.

So, what exactly causes lack of self-confidence? Three things, actually – fear of criticism, self-doubt, and feelings of being un-valued and un-loved. But, each of these can be overcome, if we can identify them, understand the root causes, and take actionable steps to negate them in our lives.

Fear of Criticism/Disapproval

The causes of this may extend way back to childhood. Perhaps you had a parent who was a perfectionist and was never quite satisfied with your behavior or your accomplishments. Your grades were never good enough; if you were involved in a sport or other activities, you weren’t the best, and you could “feel” the disappointment.

In school, perhaps you were just average. Perhaps you were not one of the “beautiful” people or in the popular crowd. Maybe you had teachers who were too critical.

Over time, as you grew up, you may have developed into a “pleaser” – someone who would bend to the will of others and do everything that you could to meet their expectations, just so you would not face criticism or disapproval.

Now, as an adult, you are in the same pattern of behavior. To avoid criticism or disapproval, either in the work place or in your personal life, you have become a “yes” person. You will agree to do as you are asked; you will go out of your way to please others; and you may become a persistent over-achiever. You bend to the will of others just for their approval.

The Fix: The first thing you have to do is learn to say “no.” This, of course, will be tough. So, pick something simple for your first act of declining something. Maybe you have a friend who is continually asking for favors or help. Inside, there are times when you really don’t want to do something s/he asks, and yet you always do it anyway. Develop your “no speech.” Practice it in front of a mirror – practice until it sounds natural. Maybe it’s something like, “you know I’d love to help you out, but I just can’t. There are some things I have been putting off myself that I just have to do.”

Once you have said “no,” it gets easier every time. Pretty soon, you will be saying “no” to bigger things, and you will be feeling good about that. You are now on your way to pleasing yourself, not others. This is a major symptom of self-confidence.


This really stems from a fear of failure. If you have had failures during your life, you have experienced what everyone has. But, your response to them, and the responses of those around you, may have resulted in a fear of failure that has become so great, you are unwilling to take any risks. You doubt your ability to take on a challenge, see it through, and emerge successfully. It’s just easier to stay where you are, in the same dull job, in the same relationships, because there is no dis-comfort. But with that ack of dis-comfort, there is also lack of personal and professional growth.

The Fix: Start taking simple risks. Get a new hair style; buy an item or two of clothing that you would not normally buy and wear them. Enroll in a class or join a club or group that is composed of strangers. These things will force you to take on some challenges while no one in your “community” is watching you. This will really be the “safest” environment in which you can take risks.

What you are looking for are small successes – successes that may not have any relationship to your current work or to your current personal life. Suppose, for example, that you join a fitness club. Your goal is to improve your body image. No one need to know you are doing this. You meet with successes as you proceed through a fitness/training program. You have taken a risk, met a challenge, and emerged victorious. You no longer doubt your ability to accomplish a goal.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you take on a challenge. There is nothing shameful in this – it is just smart. Suppose, for example, your writing skills are not what they should be, and you have been charged with writing content for one of your company’s website pages. You’re in a panic and filled with self-doubt. Instead of shrinking from the challenge, trust it to professionals on and get some help. No one has to know. And you are, in fact, working smarter, not harder, and not risking failure.

Feelings of Being Un-Valued or Un-Loved

Lots of things can contribute to this negative thought pattern. You may have grown up in a large, busy household in which no one seemed to have time for you; you may have been the victim or poor relationships, even abusive ones. You may have been the victim of bullying growing up. Any of these things can result in feelings that you are not valuable or worthy of good things in your life. So, you keep placing yourself in situations that validate your low self-worth.

The Fix: This is probably the toughest “nut to crack.” Your lack of self-confidence won’t let you strike out and show your value at work by taking credit for all that you do; it won’t let you identify and feel good about what you do for others, as well as expect appreciation from them for what you do. Your first step is to place yourself in a situation in which you are valued and do receive praise. Where do you find that situation? You take yourself to a place where you are needed. Volunteer at a local homeless or women’s abuse center; tutor children in low-income schools and community centers; offer your services at a local nursing home or animal shelter. This has two benefits. One, you get outside of yourself and stop the negative thought pattern – you are doing good for others. Two, you are going to receive praise and gratitude for what you do. Over time, this is a huge confidence builder, and you will begin to demand that others see your value too.

You are not bound by your past. You can write your own future of self-confidence and sense of worthiness by taking some pretty small steps as a start. Building self-confidence is a journey for most of us, and it has to begin somewhere and some time. Make that ‘somewhere’ and ‘sometime’ your now, by taking that first steep. your social media marketing partner

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